Chris Bombardier

Summiting to Save Lives!

Chris climbing Denali (Mt. McKinley)
March is Hemophilia Awareness month! But you already knew that.
What you might not know is that a brave young Denver man with hemophilia is making 
history!!
Chris Bombardier (don’t you just love that name? It’s like Jonny Quest or Tom Cruise—it simply implies adventure) is doing something no one with hemophilia has ever done before: summiting Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. 
Why this mountain? After all, the man lives in Denver, a mile-high city. (Yes, he has that to his advantage; lots of extra red blood cells to help with altitude). Carstensz Pyramid will be Chris’s 5th mountain in his goal is to become the first person with hemophilia to climb the highest peak on each continent, aka The Seven Summits.
Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Mt. Aconcagua in South America, and Mt. McKinley in the US: been there, done that for Chris. 

This will be  his most technical climb yet–that means hard!  Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Oceania standing at 16,024 feet above sea level. The mountain is in a remote area of Papua, Indonesia and the climb will involve specialized skills such as rock climbing, rappelling, and a tyrolean traverse. Chris will end the climb with a 4-5 day trek through an isolated region of the Papua jungle.

Chris infusing on a mountain top!

And he asked me to come with him, mentioning there were a lot of leeches and snakes in those there “isolated regions.” I wanted to go, believe me. One day I will go with him (though we are now narrowed down to Antarctica and Mt. Everest. I have to remind him I am twice his age), if only to base camp.

Chris left Friday, March 6 and has just landed in Bali. He is psyched and raring to go! 

You can follow him for the next three weeks on his blog: AdventuresOfAHemophiliac.com

Quick background: The Seven Summits Quest began when Chris traveled to Kenya on a work-related trip. While there, he witnessed the difficulties of those living with hemophilia in less developed regions of the world and decided he wanted to do anything he could to help. Chris declares, “Of course I look forward to standing on the summits of these incredible mountains and feeling the accomplishment of doing it with hemophilia. I want to show young people with hemophilia what’s possible. Our world is an amazing place, and I don’t want people with hemophilia to think they have to live in a bubble. I want them to get out and experience life to the fullest!” But, more importantly, Chris is committed to spreading the word about hemophilia and raising people’s awareness of the huge disparity in care that exists in the world.

And I add proudly that Chris is a board member of Save One Life, the nonprofit I founded in 2001 to help support the world’s poor with hemophilia. We have about 1,400 children and young adults 

enrolled, who receive direct funding, scholarships, camp funding and microenterprise grants!

Deepak Das of India, whose leg was amputated
last year due to an untreated bleed

And in March, Chris is going to dedicate each day to a child in need. Our goal is to get 35 more sponsored. They are waiting on our website: http://www.saveonelife.net
Chris is taking risks at great expense to highlight the need of those in impoverished countries, where factor is limited or nonexistent. Please help support his climb by sponsoring a child today!
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12565783.htm

Celebrating Life at NHF

With my heroes Vaughn Ripley and
Barry Haarde

The beautiful speech given at NHF by chair Jorge de la Riva stressed caring, and the dangers of indifference. Jorge, the father of a teen with hemophilia, deftly drummed home by a quotation from Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, whose book Night, I just reread a few weeks ago:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” 

How appropriate to use Weisel to remind our community that if we do not watchdog our own interest,s we may be hurt–again. And this is why the theme of this year’s meeting was “Nothing about us, without us.” More and more, NHF (and HFA and other groups) are steering the interests of the community, from research, to data collection, to blood supply safety, to genotyping. We’ve come a long way in 20 years, and paid a hard price.
Two more great guys! Derek Nelson and Chris Bombardier

Val Bias, CEO of NHF and person with hemophilia, gave a speech on the many and exemplary accomplishments of not only the NHF but of various groups and individuals in our community. During the videos shown, I thought instead of two people who have done extraordinary, history-making things in our community, just this year—Chris Bombardier, the first person with hemophilia in the world to conquer four of the seven summits. And Barry Haarde, who has now ridden his bike three times across America, to bring attention to the public of hemophilia and HIV. It’s nice that we showcased who we did, but Chris and Barry volunteered weeks of their lives to do something no one else has ever done, which are extraordinary feats even without hemophilia! 

Martha Hopewell with
volunteer Evan Poole

I’m happy to say we did acknowledge them, at the Save One Life Celebration on September 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC, just before NHF kicked off. It was a lovely event, with about 77 attendees, including donors and sponsors. We honored special people who have helped make Save One Life a success so far:
 Over 1,300 people with hemophilia in 12 countries who live in poverty supported directly with financial aid
80 scholarships to foreign individuals since 2012
8 micro enterprise grants in 2014
Over $1.5 million in direct aid!
Laurie with friend and colleague Val Bias,
CEO of NHF

All this goes to people who live on the fringe of life, the poor, the suffering, in places like India, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Honduras. And we honored Chris and Barry who have raised so much money for us. And our Inspiration Award went to Mark Skinner, former NHF president, WFH president and current WFH USA president (and personal friend) who has inspried me for many years with his brilliant insights, his compassion for the poor and his endless volunteerism. Accepting the award for him was Mike Rosenthal, executive director of WFH USA. We were surprised and pleased to see Doug Loock in attendance, who, back when he worked for the American Red Cross in 2000, gave us our first grant, and was the first supporter to help us!

Doug Loock, in red tie, who gave Save One Life
our first ever grant in 2000

Thanks to NHF for allowing us to hold the even at their event (thanks, Val!); and to ASD Healthcare (thank you, Neil  Herson!) for being our major supporter of the event. Also thanks to Baxter, Novo Nordisk and CVS Health for supporting the event.

Best news of all? We picked up 30 more sponsored children as a result! 
If you want to learn more or support a child, please visit http://www.saveonelife.net

Laurie with Neil Herson, president of ASD Healthcare, accepting
award for Chris Bombardier
Martha with Jessica Swann, accepting award for Judi Faitek

Usha Parasarathy accepting award for
Program Partner of Year
Mike Rosenthal accepting award for Mark Skinner
Eric Hill, president of BioRx
and Board Member
Arwind Manohar of Baxter accepting
award for Barry Haarde

Great Book I Just Read
Blood Meridian [Kindle]
Cormac McCarthy

The author of No Country for Old Men does it again. This is a masterpiece, an American classic, written with such skill and depth that you cannot skim, cannot rush; it has to be savored, thought about, explored. The main character, a young man only referred to as “the kid,” runs away from home in the south and heads west in the 1800s. He meets many groups and characters, but ultimately joins a scalping posse, intent on capturing as many Indian scalps to sell as possible.  Like many of McCarthy’s stories, the theme is bleak, desperate, dusty and desolate, like the land the kid crosses. The main theme seems to be that evil lurks everywhere: there are no good guys or bad guys in the Wild West: just survival. And every single person, whether Indian, white, male or female, harbors evil deep within in the quest for survival. It’s a somber read, but the writing style alone is like a delicate fabric of words, woven so that you see no seams, only a beautiful, dark, and captivating cloth; worth reading if you want to read something by a master. Five our of five stars.

Summit 4: Heart of a Lion

I have to just brag about this kid as if he’s my own (with apologies to Cathy Bombardier, his wonderful true mom): Chris Bombardier is just amazing. With so much humility and a soft-spoken demeanor, he has the heart of a lion! He just bagged his fourth summit, in his attempt to be the first person with hemophilia to conquer the Seven Summits—the highest summits on each continent.

It was a tough, grueling climb, the hardest one he has done to date, he confided, and that’s saying a lot. I did Kilimanjaro in 2011, and the last 7 hours of the summit reminded me a lot of childbirth without anesthesia, which I have done twice. Not fun. But the outcome was worth it!

Three more to go, the last being the breathtaking Mt. Everest. I am working out religiously so I can accompany him on a climb. How cool would that be? I’m old enough to be his mother. And proud enough to be his mother! Congratulations, Chris!

Chris’ climbs benefit Save One Life, the nonprofit I founded to help children with hemophilia in developing countries. So he not only climbs for personal challenge, but to advance hemophilia care for those who have none. Heart of a Lion!

Please read this excerpt from his blog, and visit “Adventures of a Hemophiliac” to read the rest of the story, and about his upcoming climbs! (Thanks SO much to ASD Healthcare, Reliance Factor of America and BDI Pharma for supporting Chris’s climb!) Visit www.SaveOneLife.net to learn more.

Denali/Mt. McKinley Part 2: Lower Glacier to 14,000ft

Chris Bombardier's picture
Submitted by Chris Bombardier on Thu, 2014-07-31 09:09

This year, Denali lived up to the hype of brutal weather.   Summit rates plummeted from the typical 50% to the low 30% when we   arrived in Talkeetna, and having a HUGE snow day so early into the trip   made us all a bit concerned. After our snowshoe fun we discussed our   plan of action. Our amazing guide Melis decided we needed to wait for   the snow to settle before heading up the mountain. Not only would this   lessen the danger of avalanches, but also make travel over the feet of   new snow easier. Another group had different plans and wanted to move as   soon as the snow stopped and the clouds cleared. We saw them struggle   past our camp and begin the ascent of Ski Hill. Hours later they were   still in sight. It took them 6 hours to reach a point that only took us 2   hours a few days before. I was so glad our guide made the decision to   leave bright and early the next morning.


We woke up at 3 A.M. the following day and the weather looked great. We packed up camp, organized all our gear, and headed out. Luckily, the team that left the night before broke trail up Ski Hill and we moved quite easily. We found the other group camped not far from where we last saw them. They must’ve been exhausted and had to camp there. Another AMS team left a few hours before us so the trail was also broken most of the way. About 3/4 of the way to 11,000 camp we passed the other AMS team descending back to Camp 1. They cached their gear and were heading back for the night. From there on out it looked like we would be breaking trail. Melis lead to the cache and when we arrived we decided to pick up ALL of our gear and head up the final hill. I was feeling good until this point. Then things changed quickly.



From the cache we only had a few hundred feet of untracked snow to make it to the rest of the trail. These few hundred feet were the worst of the entire trip. I was second on the rope team following our guide Mike. He charged into the fresh snow and was moving quickly. I was trying to step opposite of him so that the snow would be packed down evenly for the others. It was brutal! We were sinking knee deep in snow on snowshoes! I think I would’ve been able to handle it but the pace was too fast for me. Instead of asking Mike to slow down I tried to tough it out. I failed. By the time I said something my legs were dead and we still had the entire hill left. The next 2 hours were brutal. I asked for more breaks and my legs finally came back. We made it to camp and I hoped that was the worst day I would have on the mountain. I knew from then on I would be more vocal about how I was feeling. There is no shame in asking for a break or slowing down the pace a bit.



We had a much needed rest day after our move to 11,000ft camp, at least much needed for me. It was an infusion day and I really wanted to do it outside with the amazing views around. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and I was restricted to my tent. The infusion went well and I was ready to roll for our next trip up the mountain. If you want to see the video of my tent infusion check out my Facebook page.


With my body restored I was ready to tackle our next goal, caching gear near Windy Corner on the trail towards 14,000ft camp. We ditched the sleds for this part of the climb which was amazing! I would much rather have a heavier backpack than pull a sled. At this point of the trip we really started climbing the mountain and weren’t just making the approach. Distances between the camps weren’t as great but the elevation gain was pretty much the same. Our first obstacle was Motorcycle Hill. This is where I really felt like I was climbing a mountain. The terrain started getting steep and strangely I started to feel stronger. We knocked out Motorcycle Hill quite nicely and turned up Squirrel Hill. As we were climbing Squirrel Hill our guide informed us of the massive cliff just out of site. That definitely heightened my senses and made me focus even more on every step. A massive avalanche slid over a cliff on the other side of the valley. I have never been so close to a slide and you could really feel the power of it. It was a great reminder that the mountain is always in control.

The weather kept improving throughout the day and when we cached we had an amazing view. It’s always an amazing feeling being on a mountain above the clouds. After we buried our cache we headed down. As we descended Squirrel and Motorcycle Hill I was in the lead of our group. The view was absolutely breathtaking and up to that point, it was my favorite day on a mountain. I felt strong again and confident that this was going to be a great trip. That night we got word that another storm may roll in. We built up wind walls around our tents and prepared to be there for awhile.

The wind picked up overnight and some snow fell but it wasn’t as bad as we thought, but still not great to move in. Melis thought we were going to be stuck for the day until the clouds suddenly started to break. Our guide made a few satellite phone calls to make sure this break would last and decided we needed to pack up and go for it. We took down the tents in the late morning and were on our way to 14,000ft camp just after noon. The trail was harder due to the new snow but we still made great progress. As we reached the top of Squirrel Hill the wind started to pick up and we knew we needed to get around Windy Corner as quickly as possible. Lets just say I get why they call it Windy Corner. We didn’t pick up the rest of our cache this time but we did stop and grab our helmets off the top as we passed the corner. The wind was howling. I grabbed my helmet, continued walking, and then waited for my teammate behind me to put his helmet on. It seemed like it was taking forever. As I glanced back to see what was going on, a freezing gust of wind and blowing snow slammed against my face. I could barely make out my teammate and just turned my back to the wind. The next 10-15 minutes of climbing around Windy Corner were brutal. Then as we crossed onto the 14,000ft side of the corner, the mountain turned peaceful. It was an amazing transformation. We continued on to camp which was still a few hours away. We pulled in around midnight, set up camp, cooked some food, and crashed hard. Another tough, tough day on the mountain. We were now in a fantastic position to get up the mountain and I really felt great at this point.

Chris Bombardier Conquers South America!

Chris Bombardier, a 27 year old with hemophilia B from Denver, Colorado, became the first person with hemophilia to summit Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas (that’s north and south everyone!). This is his second summit in his bid to be the first person with hemophilia to climb the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each continent. This is historic!

He climbed to raise awareness of hemophilia globally, and also to raise money for Save One Life, the international sponsorship nonprofit I founded in 2001. Chris also serves on our board of directors. He is an adventurer, outdoorsman, and just one of the nicest people you could ever meet. LA Kelley Communications was proud to support his climb. 
He finished off his great adventure with a visit to the Argentina hemophilia society, a group I had met in 2003 when I visited. It is one of the oldest hemophilia organizations in the world.
Here are some of Chris’s postings from his blog, “Adventures of a Hemophiliac.” And look at the photos below to see Chris at the summit holding the photo of Brian, from Zimbabwe, a photo which drew deep responses from our fans on Facebook. We are trying to secure medical aid for Brian.

February
7, 2013
Read more at
http://adventuresofahemophiliac.com/
Half way there guys! Day 10 of the climb … Today
is a carry day for acclimatization for Camp 2 up to 17,800 feet! This trip
should take about 6 hours after which the night is spent back down at Camp 1.
So far the weather has been outstanding! The climb today was hovering right
around the mid-20’s with very little wind and a cloudless sunny day. Couldn’t
ask for better weather! After camp tonight, the crew will make the trek up to
Camp 2 again and sleep there. It’s predicted to be another perfectly sunny day,
with just a few snowflakes over night. 

Rest day and camp one 
32.6380S,69.9771W 

Credit: Koky Castañeda
We are reporting in from 5000m at camp one. We
tried to send a dispatch yesterday but had some technical issues so sorry about
that. Most of yesterday was spent relaxing, with a little bit of a poker tournament
in the dining tent. 

We had a good climb up to camp one today and we are
lounging in the tents. It is very hot here right now as there is no wind at the
moment. To the east there are some clouds building in the wonderful blue sky.
Our plan is to do a carry to camp two tomorrow. We are excited to be up here
making our way higher into the awesome Andes Range.
Seems like everything is on
track and on schedule, so we can expect summit day to be within the expected range
of Saturday-Monday, Feb 9-11!

Camp Two 

32.6301S,70.0014W 

It has been quite a couple days since our last
dispatch. We moved up to camp two yesterday and it was just in time, as the
weather closed in and the snow began. The snowfall continued all night for the
most part. In fact the weather outlook for the next few days is off and on
snow, but if we get a clear windless morning we can push for the top. So
tonight we have one more day sleeping at 5500m and tomorrow morning we will
climb up to high camp at 6000m and be in position. We will update as soon as we
make the next move!

February 8 Summit Push is On! 
   
32.6370S,70.0183W

We are in camp 3, Colera camp at 6000m, yoo-hoo. The plan is to go for
the summit in the morning. There is a lot of snow on the route, but we will
team up with several other groups to kick in a route, and hope the weather
stays stable long enough for us to sneak up there to the summit before predicted
strong winds begin in the upcoming days. Follow tomorrow for the news!!!
Sounds like we may have some news tomorrow about the summit!! Let’s hope
the crew gets some good rest tonight, and that the weather cooperates. The
forecast estimates a high of 0 degrees at the top, with a wind chill of -24°!!
Wind should be around 20 miles per hour with some snow showers. 

February 9 Summit!      


Chris holds photo of Brian of Zimbabwe
at the summit
(From Jessica, Chris’s girlfriend) According to the
schedule, they allowed a few extra days for weather and acclimatization, and
I’m not sure if the first part of the guides’ post meant that they were going
to try to summit again the next day, or if they were going to post more
information the next day. Since they did have some extra days available in
their schedule, they may have stayed at Camp 3 an extra night to allow for a
second attempt at the summit. Either way they should have started their descend
by now, and will camp in Plaza de Mulas base camp the first night (13,780
feet). From the summit at 22,840 feet, that’s a 9,060 foot elevation change in
one day! The route to this camp is well traveled by many and should be an easy
path. After they reach Plaza de
Mulas, they will hike out the Horcones Valley to Pentitentes in a single day. Hopefully
we will know more soon!!

February 11: Quick Summit Update
     


Extremely sorry for the delay, the rest of the
summit update has not happened due to a number of reasons including, missing
charge cords, extreme wind, mudslides on the road back to Mendoza, and some
other interesting side notes. It was an awesome time up there. We had 9 out of
10 clients and guides summit on a great, only slightly windy day. Chris, David,
Benedicte, Gaute, Thomas, Alexander, and Rolf all summited with Ryan and Koky
on a cloudless summit. We are very ready for a steak and a beer, so good night
from Mendoza!
From Jessica:  Chris called this morning to let everyone know that he is
feeling great, albeit exhausted, and had a blast!! He can’t wait to share all
of his stories and pictures with his family and friends who so devotedly
followed him on this expedition!

February 12:  Fundación de la Hemofilia de la Argentina
Chris with members of the
Fundacion de la Hemofilia
Just visited with the wonderful people at Fundacion
de la Hemofilia de la Argentina! It was a wonderful experience exploring the
treatment center and learning about hemophilia in Argentina! I can’t wait to
get home tomorrow and share all of my stories and pictures!
To contribute, go to www.saveonelife.net

Eye on the Summit!

This is a very special week in Hemophilia Adventure
History! On Tuesday, Chris Bombardier, a 27-year-old Colorado man with severe
factor IX deficiency, sets out to climb Aconcagua, a 22, 847 foot mountain
located in northern Argentina, near the border of Chile. It is the highest
mountain in the Americas, and is part of Chris’s unprecedented Seven Summits
climb. Unprecedented because no one with hemophilia has bagged all seven
summits—the highest mountains on each of seven continents.
Why is Chris doing this? How dangerous is it?


“Obviously I hope to summit,” the Denver native told me in a recent telephone
interview. “I also hope to raise greater awareness of hemophilia globally. Most
people in the States don’t even know about hemophilia; think about how little
is known worldwide. I think having someone with hemophilia pushing the limits
is a cool story in itself, but I hope it raises awareness of the discrepancy in
treatment.”

Chris knows something about that. He sits on the board
of my nonprofit, Save One Life, which is dedicated to assisting individuals in
poverty with hemophilia in developing countries. He also has helped establish a blood testing lab in Eldoret, Kenya.
“Physically, I feel good, strong,” says Chris, an avid
mountaineer and adventurer. Chris already has knocked off one summit: Kilimanjaro
in Tanzania, when he climbed in April 2011, becoming the first American with
hemophilia to summit it. He is using a long lasting factor in experimental
studies currently, which, he says, is working well. He plans to infuse on the
mountain as needed.
Chris will be climbing the
Ameghino/Upper Guanacos route with a traverse and decent down the normal route.
He’ll be climbing with two guides and eight other climbers. Chris’s climb is
being funded by LA Kelley Communications.
“We
start the climb on Tuesday, January 29th with a hopeful summit day around February
7th or 8th, says Chris. “I posted a thorough itinerary of the climb on
my new website and blog.” Chris also hopes that he inspires people to donate to
Save One Life; while his climbing costs are covered, every penny he raises goes
to helping run Save One Life, which serves over 1,000 people with hemophilia
who live on about $1 a day.
While in
Argentina, Chris also hopes to meet the Hemophilia Foundation of Argentina, one
of the world’s first hemophilia nonprofits and one of the best run. Carlos
Safadi, a lawyer with hemophilia who sits on its board, also serves on the
executive committee of the World Federation of Hemophilia. Carlos writes, “It will be my pleasure to welcome
Chris to the Foundation.”
Check
out www.adventuresofahemophiliac.com  to read more about Chris and his
momentous climb! And show your support by making a donation in any amount to
Save One Life!  www.saveonelife.net
 
Great Book I Just Read
Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the
Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day
[Kindle]
The worst accident in the
history of climbing K2, the second highest mountain in the world but known as
the most treacherous, happened on August 1, 2008, when 11 mountaineers from
international expeditions died. What sets this true story apart from other
mountain climbing stories is that it is told primarily from the sherpas’
point-of-view. The authors get inside the mind-sets of the sherpas who brought
the many clients up the mountain that day; their lives from childhood are
replayed, revealing their sterling character, and how most escaped dire poverty
to become rock-stars of the climbing world. But the “goddess” of the mountain
had other plans for the unlucky climbers: reaching the summit too late in the
day, the return became a race against the dark, the cold when disaster struck.
An avalanche buries the lead ropes, scattering the climbers, leaving some suspended
upside-down all night long, others to walk over the edge, and still others to abandon
their fellow climbers. It’s a tragic tale, masterfully told with great
compassion and in-depth focus on each individual. Most fascinating to me were
the many references to the Nepalese sherpas’ faith in the goddess of the mountain,
and the Pakistani guides’ Islamic faith and how their faiths led them to assist
the many climbers and other guides in trouble, putting their own lives at
terrible risk.  This story of
heroism and yes, hubris, was a page-turner, and I finished it in two nights.
Four/five stars. 
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